I grew up in Liverpool in the late 70s and early 80s when the city was wracked with unemployment, poverty and rioting. I remember sitting on the playing fields outside the sixth form centre, reading the prospectus for Oxford. The Tanner Scheme drew me to Hertford, mainly because I thought it was the only chance a state school girl like me had to get to Oxford, but also because of what it revealed about the open, earthy and pioneering spirit of the college.
Hertford gave me many things: my dearest friends, most vivid memories, richest experiences, hardest lessons, most dreaded deadlines and a commitment to never take another exam.
Since then a lot has happened. I navigated the corporate world and became a CEO. I did several start-ups, some of which were very successful and some definitely were not. I hung out in the Arizona desert with self-help gurus and studied with Buddhist monks, becoming a master in reiki and neuro-linguistic programming, as well as teaching undergraduate courses in happiness along the way. I certified as an executive coach at Columbia University and founded my latest company in New York where I now live, which helps the biggest and brightest stars of global companies to become even better than they already are. I also enjoy my three children, three stepchildren and two grandchildren who live on both sides of the Atlantic.
Sounds random? Yes, I think it has been except for one thing: everything I’ve done in some way has its origins in my time at Hertford, whether it’s the qualification on my CV, the inspiration, the friendships, or the self-confidence that’s helped me.